Blog Post Photo of Green Tomato Relish in Canning Jars

There’s Something About Canning

It’s the season once again to haul out our jars and get canning and preserving! And I am so glad to see a resurgence of interest in people taking it up!  Domenica Marchetti has recently published a new book “Preserving Italy” that’s filled with delicious recipes.

The household I grew up in had a pantry stocked full of  Mom’s efforts; all kinds of jam, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets (with beets from our garden), relishes, mustard pickles (Dad’s favourite), canned cherries from the trees in the backyard, tomatoes, apricots, peaches, pears, applesauce and so on. For some reason all this work had to take place on the hottest days of the year! It seemed that there was always loads of produce and fruit showing up, people had fruit trees in their yard they were giving away, or  friends and neighbours who would bring back stuff from the Okanagan that had to be put up for the winter, right now! Then, of course, there was the salmon canning every year…I don’t like salmon…couldn’t stand the smell and couldn’t be in the house when it was being processed in that huge pressure cooker!

I  remember one crazy night where Mom and I staying up all night peeling those little silver-skin onions for pickling later that day!

So, you can imagine, when I left home to be on my own, I really missed all the wonderful treasures stored in our basement storage room (aka the cooler). It seemed to me that if I wanted some jam I had better damned well learn how to make it! I worked in a fruit cannery for a couple of summers when I was in my teens and I wasn’t about to eat bought jam!

I don’t do much canning these days and I kind of miss it, especially when I see all the wonderful produce and fruit at the Farmer’s Market each week. Memories of sitting on the back steps on a sunny morning, peeling a big bag of pears someone had given us and about to become a spicy pear chutney or trying to come up with something clever to do with that big bag of Italian prune plums a friend left at the back door, other than jam; not that I don’t love plum jam. In the end they became a star anise flavoured Asian plum dipping sauce!

A sight to behold and what a sense of accomplishment seeing all those glorious sparkling colours of jams and jellies in their cute little jars, dill pickles resting for 6 weeks, relishes and dark, spicy chutneys to serve with meat pies or on a sandwich or with cheeses…yum! Yes, there really is something about canning!

Helpful links to Mary’s Green Tomato Relish.  And to Zucchini Marmalade, click here. For the recipe for my Dill Pickles, click here.

If you are looking for a recipe, send me a comment and I will get right back to you!



  1. When someone expressed wonder and amazement that I make my own jams, canned fruit, etc. I answer “doesn’t everyone??” I wouldn’t dream of buying pickled beets or canned peaches. After all, when we were growing up, Mom did it! Somehow I got out of having to help her, I guess that was why you were there.

  2. Yes, indeed, there is something about canning. I remember my grandmother putting up summer tomatoes around this time of year, enough to practically fill one of the closets in her New York apartment. Those days seem long gone but it’s on my project list to do some preserving this summer, perhaps a giardiniera…

    • You’ve got to keep the tradition alive Frank…you and I both know how rewarding it is. Even with my sore knee, I’m still going to do a couple of things…like Domenica’s Green Tomato Conserve and her Red Tomato Chili “Jam”…and even though it’s not canning…a huge batch of caponata…it feels like canning because it takes some effort to prep. everything, cook them all separately and then combine all those luscious seasonal veggies into a mass of deliciousness! Maybe next summer I’ll take a whack at giardiniera!

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